Saurierpark Bautzen concept study

As a representative business card of the Saurierpark Bautzen, its entrance building together with the parking facilities and access areas are aimed to be redesigned and reorganized. Therefore, not only a new wayfinding system and sequence of rooms was developed, but also the functional efficiency was considered. Regarding the seasons and depending on public holiday and vacation periods, Saurierpark Bautzen records strongly varying visitor crowds. Despite this external factor, operational procedures and a good orientation must be secured. To offer visitors an exciting exploration journey, a holistic approach was chosen for the new concept. The aim is to guide visitors in the footsteps of prehistoric times already when accessing the parking area. In accordance with this goal, the entrance concept starts with the observation and design of the parking logistics and is completed with the newly arising themed world of the “primeval soup”. Shortly after arriving, visitors are able to feel the primeval atmosphere on the side-lines of the parking area. This is where the cloud forest opens up. This scenic area of castanea plants and Norway maple guides visitors through cooled lava veins from the parking lots to the forecourt of the reception building. In light fog and surrounded by primeval sounds, visitors are about to follow the footprints of the dinosaurs and to dive deeper into the prehistoric age with every step they take. Next to footprints, also fossil dinosaur eggs – in various sizes and colours, consisting of natural stones and concrete – testify the primeval character of this place. The eggs underline the structure of a thematic suspense and equally serve visitors as seating accommodation. Here, people are invited to gather and meet before continuing their way to the entrance hall. The building is a significant and attractive sign. Strong, fundamental and archaic it stands of the crest of a flat hill ahead of the valley of the dinosaurs. With its clarity, the timeless building seems elegant and modern and takes up the role of a little entrance building with optimised functional processes within the programme of the park. At the same time, the reception building represents the gate to a different world that opens up behind the protecting front cover. The building is a part of a room sequence that solidifies the scenic and architectonic transition to the valley of the dinosaurs in an atmospheric way. To reach this approach, the walls of the building are playing a predominant role. A functionally optimized pavilion with spacious glass fronts is installed inside the lava-like and crusty shell of the building. Like so, the outer wall seems concealing and provokes curiosity while the inner walls open up for insights into subsequent rooms, creating a pleasant overview and clarity. Integrated sitting accommodations contribute to additional space to dwell. With the inserted pavilion, three rooms are about to emerge within the protective shell: the pavilion itself as a functional area for the ticket office, wardrobes and restrooms, as well as two courts which serve as locations for transition. This architectonic concept allows the building to be compact and large, spacious and sealed, open and closed at the same time. Also, it addresses children and adults equally. When entering the building, visitors can orientate in the first court to gather, wait and inform. The court seems like a frame that opens up with primeval redwood trees and an open view to the sky. Here, the visitor will already be able to look through the glass facades towards the second accessible court. Divided by the Caucasian wingnut trees, visitors will be guided to the check-in area naturally. A centrally organized cash desk that simultaneously manages both the shop and the café simplifies the entire ticketing procedure at its best. After having purchased a ticket, visitors are guided from the pavilion to the second court. This court has a more condensed, primeval atmosphere than the first court what supports a consistent immersion in the age of the dinosaurs. A window allows first glances at the dense forest of the dinosaur park. Suspension is intensified on the visitor’s way through the prehistoric grove of silk trees and ferns. At the end of the grove, people can already see part of the time tunnel and the fire gate which evert from the façade. The pave gets smaller and smaller until it becomes a plank that seems to lead in the infinite depth of the planet. Dinosaur shadows in the gleam of the lava together with primeval sounds set the atmosphere of the tunnel. Here, handcarts can be rented and returned at the end of the journey. After having enjoyed the dinosaur park, the visitor path leads from the forest straight to the long wall which serves as a natural transition back to present time. The visitor journey continues through the shop back into the first court of the building where groups can gather and people can rest before returning to the carpark through the cloud forest. The parking area too is considered in the new concept. A clear division in private and public transport enables clear and smoothly running traffic. Here, the walk in the footprints of prehistoric life ends where it began what creates a holistic destination experience for the visitors.